Men’s Running Shoes: which are best for me?

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Running is not only healthy and natural, it is also an easily accessible type of physical activity. It basically only requires a pair of suitable shoes… and this is where the problems arise. What are the running shoes best suited to my needs? What are the best running shoes for my particular physique, and my athletic shape? We try to give answers.

Terrain and running surface

Think about the terrain you run on most often. If you’re looking to beat your own personal best on a smooth, obstacle-free course, then a pair of lightweight road shoes is for you. If you are tackling rough trails, we recommend a more robust and protective shoe. If you then run on a mix of surfaces, you’ll have to decide if you want a pair of hybrid shoes to handle them all, or a dedicated pair to wear for road running and racing, and another pair for your off-road days.

Road running shoes are designed to cushion and absorb the impact of cadenced steps on paved or compact paths, or on the solid surface of a treadmill. The uppers are made to be lightweight and breathable, rather than abrasion resistant. These shoes are flexible enough to allow your foot to bend over the forefoot and move naturally, from impact to thrust. The soles are designed for hard surfaces and are smoother, with shallower lugs than trail shoes. The outsoles balance traction, and the lugs are arranged to help propel you forward.

Trail runners have sturdy soles and more resistant uppers, designed to resist abrasion from rocks, twigs and undergrowth. Some have a thin protective plate between the midsole and the outsole, to protect your feet from sharp stones or roots that can hurt you. The outsoles also give traction on soft surfaces, and often have deep lugs that dig, so they support your foot on steep hills and sharp angles. Lugs are arranged to give you traction when you run uphill, and help you brake when you run downhill.

Most brands offer hybrid versions of popular models. You will also find hybrid fitness shoes, designed to keep you stable on smooth surfaces, and to support the lateral movements of workouts: generally these shoes are suitable for both road running and treadmill training.

Support and stability

The shape of your foot arch – and the way you rest your feet as you walk – are good indicators of the type of support you need. The action of naturally turning the foot a little inwards is called pronation. Most people have mild natural pronation, but if the foot leans too much inward (overprones), then you may benefit from a stabilizing shoe to help support your stride. It is less common, but some runners have an outward step. This is often referred to as underpronation. A stabilizing shoe that balances your stride and keeps your lower body in alignment will also come in handy if you under-lap while running.

Foot with neutral gait
Neutral gait runners typically have normal foot arches (neither tall nor flat). If the wear on your shoes is concentrated on the sole of the foot and on the outside of the heel, it is a sign that you have neutral pronation.

High arch foot
People with high arches may have a tendency to underprone. If your shoes show heavy wear on the outer edges, it is possible that you have an outward pronation.

Flat feet
People with flat feet have a tendency to overpronate. Severe wear on the inner edge, big toe and inner heel can be a sign of overpronation, pushing out of the big toe.

Our selection

The selection below brings together the best men’s running shoes in 10 models, with features that should fit well on most types of runners.

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